Boeing, Lockheed team on bid for long-range bomber program

DEFENSE

Boeing, Lockheed team on bomber bid

Boeing and Lockheed Martin will team to bid on a new U.S. Air Force long-range bomber program, a multibillion-dollar project that Air Force officials have described as a top acquisition priority.

Boeing, which has played a role in every U.S. bomber program since World War II, would be the prime contractor on the next-generation bomber program, with Lockheed as its primary subcontractor, the companies said Friday.

The Air Force has said it plans to buy as many as 100 new bombers for no more than $550 million each.

The Air Force had no immediate comment on the pact between the companies. Its estimate of $550 million a plane reflects only the procurement cost of the new weapons, not the cost of developing the plane or construction of new hangars.

Northrop Grumman, maker of the B-2 stealth bomber, is also expected to compete to build the new long-range strike bomber, a program that’s expected to reap billions of dollars of revenue for the winning bidder.

Northrop spokesman Randy Belote declined to comment on the Boeing-Lockheed teaming agreement but said his company viewed the bomber program as “vital to both national security and the power projection capability of the U.S. Air Force.”

The teaming agreement brings together the Pentagon’s two largest suppliers: Lockheed, ranked No. 1, and Boeing, the second-largest, which some analysts said would present stiff competition for Northrop.

— Reuters

STOCKS

Tech firm earnings drive market rally

Strong third-quarter results from technology companies drove investors into stocks Friday, giving the market its third straight weekly gain.

After reporting results that topped expectations, Microsoft rose 6 percent, and Amazon.com rose 9.4 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index hit a record. The Nasdaq is the highest it has been in 13 years.

The continued economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve has helped investors brush aside a few warning signs about the market. Stocks look fully priced by some measures comparing them to earnings, for instance. And revenue growth is slowing. Revenue for S&P 500 companies is expected to grow just 2 percent for 2013, half the growth of the year before.

Economic news Friday suggested that they may struggle to increase sales for a while.

The U.S. government reported that orders for long-lasting factory goods, excluding aircraft and military-related products, fell 1.1 percent. Also, the University of Michigan said its index of U.S. consumer sentiment fell in October as concern grew that the partial government shutdown this month and the political fight over the nation’s borrowing limit would slow growth.

The Dow rose 61.07 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 15,570.28. The S&P 500 rose 7.70 points, 0.4 percent, to 1759.77. The S&P also closed at a record high Tuesday.

The Nasdaq composite rose 14.40 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3943.36. That was its highest close since September 2000.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Toyota settled a lawsuit that brought a $3 million jury verdict over a claim that a defect in a Camry made the vehicle suddenly accelerate and led to an accident that left one woman dead and another injured. An Oklahoma City jury late Thursday awarded $1.5 million for each claim and was scheduled to consider punitive damages Friday. The terms of the settlement are confidential, plaintiffs’ attorney Cole Portis said Friday.

United Parcel Service, the world’s largest package-delivery company, posted third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates after carrying more U.S. shipments at higher rates. Net income more than doubled to $1.1 billion, or $1.16 a share, Atlanta-based UPS said Friday, affirming a full-year forecast for per-share earnings in a range of $4.65 to $4.85. Analysts projected profit of $1.15 a share for the quarter and $4.75 for 2013. UPS is considered an economic bellwether because it moves a variety of goods worldwide.

Detroit’s police chief said Friday that the city’s financial woes have hobbled his department and threatened the safety of officers, residents and visitors. During a trial to determine whether the city is eligible to fix its finances in bankruptcy court, James Craig testified that he has found “deplorable conditions” of facilities and equipment. He started his job in July — the same month the city filed for bankruptcy. Craig, who has worked for several law enforcement agencies nationwide, said department morale is lower than anywhere else he’s worked. That includes when he worked as an officer in Detroit in the 1970s. He said officers blame pay cuts and 12-hour shifts brought on by money problems. The trial concluded its third day and continues next week.

United Airlines will pay $1.1 million in fines for stranding passengers on 13 planes for more than three hours on the tarmac on a stormy July day last year at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The Transportation Department said it’s the biggest fine against an airline since 2010. That’s when new rules barred airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac for longer than three hours without giving them the opportunity to leave the plane.

McDonald’s on Friday said it plans to end its 40-year relationship with ketchup maker H.J. Heinz, since that company is now led by the former chief executive of hamburger rival Burger King Worldwide. “As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” McDonald’s said in a statement. A spokesman for Heinz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

— From news services

Coming Next Week

Monday: Industrial production data for September released.

Tuesday: Federal Open Market Committee meets. Retail sales and producer price index for September released.

Wednesday: FOMC meeting announcement. Consumer price index for September released.

 
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